Entries in Studio Museum in Harlem (8)



A conversation with Lauren Halsey.

Artist-in-Residence at Studio Harlem Museum 2014-2015.


ARTE: Thelma Golden x Cultured Mag

Thelma Golden on the cover of Cultured Magazine standing in front of Lauren Halsey's "Doo Rag Gods" Totem columns.




Samuel Levi Jones interviewed by Mark Bradford in Studio Magazine's 2015 Winter/Spring Edition. View the article HERE.



Courtney Wallis Blair interviews Samuel Levi Jones for Forbes.com

4 Questions: Samuel Levi Jones

There’s something to be said (and held closely) about quietude in a time when shock and volume are firmly aligned with power and value. It’s something more to explore that power and value, in all its systems and intricacies, through a lens of stillness. But Samuel Levi Jones does it and does it well, in a most thoughtful manner, through his brilliant works on canvas that incorporate the covers of encyclopedias and law case text books.

It is this engagement to material, raw and aggressive, that put him in the running for the Studio Museum’s lusted-after Joyce Prize of which he took home along with a cool $50,000 and that brought on solo shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem (opening today) and Indiana’s Museum of Contemporary Art (opening this fall). He’s also in this year’s Mistake Room biennial exhibition. So we caught up with the artist, represented by Papillion, Los Angeles, to discuss his first exhibition in New York, his interest in material, and what that quietude is all for.


Don't Feel Right, 2015, mixed media on canvas, 82in x 125in.

This is your first exhibition in New York. Can you tell me about Unbound, how it came to fruition, the work that will be on view, and how it speaks to your practice as a whole?
I’m extremely excited about my first show in New York being at the Studio Museum Harlem. In late 2014, Naima Keith (Associate Curator, Studio Museum Harlem) and I started having a conversation about exhibiting at the Studio Museum. Unbound is a continuation of the work that I have been constructing from encyclopedias, which is about the exploration of systems of knowledge and power. For this exhibit I chose to use law books, as I felt that it was pertinent to current events. This work is site specific, and the three works are much larger than any of my previous works.

Your critical exploration of systems of power and knowledge is the main focus of the exhibition. Can you explain its relationship to materiality and form? Is there a direct relationship to the body?
The relationship of the material to systems of power is very direct. I viewed the source material as the system of power. Encyclopedias in particular, contain a vast amount of information, but it is selective, and much equally important content is omitted. When working with the material I think about how the information was compiled and the methodology. I am ultimately thinking about information that is selectively left out. Much of the material I work with are the covers of the books. I refer to them as skins, and they define, and contain, the body of my work.

I find the evisceration of text in your work interesting given that you employ books as a symbol of knowledge. Can you talk a bit about this deconstruction and quieting of content?
The removal of the text pertains to numerous ideas that are competing for my attention. One thing that I think about are narratives which are not consistent with their contexts and do not fit. Deconstructing the material is a cathartic act as I physically handle these inconsistencies.

You stay within a limited color palette. Is this intentional? What is the significance of color within your practice?
The color is based upon what the material naturally gives me to work with. It is not intentional unless I choose to do some mixing of the source materials. Most of the time, the color palette is based upon the particular set of books with which I am working. Early in my work, I would typically construct a single piece from one set of books. More recently, I have been experimenting more with mixed materials to keep the aesthetic fresh. The color is not as important as the texture and other qualities of the material. I enjoy the challenge of working with a constantly changing source of materials.

Unbound is on view at the Studio Museum Harlem, New York through June 28, 2015. The TMR Benefit Exhibition is on view in Los Angeles through May 9, 2015.


ARTE: UNBOUND by Samuel Levi Jones

Jones celebrated his first museum solo show last night when he debuted new ambitious works in his site specific installation Unbound big huge congratulations to Samuel and the great effort that went into this show!



ARTE: Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Samuel Levi Jones opens at the Studio Museum in Harlem March 26th with a solo exhibition titled Unbound.

For Unbound, Jones presents four new works that are his largest yet, and utilize law textbooks disassembled into their structural components. Spines and covers form wall-to-wall painting-like works mounted on canvas or adhered directly to the wall (UnboundJaded and Don’t Feel Right), and pages are processed and molded into an assemblage (Reformation). In the three wall works, form and materiality are emphasized, while function and value are called into question—the books have been stripped of authoritative identity. These works engage recent criticism of the law and the justice system with respect to human rights and social welfare.

Reformation differs from the other works but displays a similar theme of destruction in service of newly imagined forms. Jones took pages from the books—literally, their content—and processed them in an industrial pulping machine. He then slowly dried the wet, shredded paper mixture in shipping crates, which transformed the pulpy gray matter into a large, solid mass. The weight, illegibility and presence of the installation suggest the metaphorical burden of the law, in which those not educated in legal procedure or jargon must face the impenetrability of the legal system. Jones points out the inaccessibility of some forms of knowledge, and strives to create an inclusive space by rendering indeterminate the authority that such knowledge appears to confer.

Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound is organized by Naima J. Keith, Associate Curator.

Detail of Jaded, 2015 mixed media on canvas 92in x 117.5in


ARTE: Unbinding Archives with Samuel Levi Jones

Studio Squared is a series of informal art-making workshops aimed at making a wide range of studio practices accessible to adult audiences. Each workshop focuses on a particular theme and creative process inspired by our exhibitions, and explores methods of creative production through an experiential approach.

Exhibiting artist and ninth recipient of the Alexander Wein Artist Prize Samuel Levi Jones will lead a paper pulping and book(un)binding workshop to illustrate the tactile processes he employs in fabricating works for his site-specific project, Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound. In his practice, Jones reworks diverse source materials—from encyclopedias and law books to technical manuals—and literally deconstructs these widely published arbiters of authenticity to challenge the relevance and accuracy of certain historical records. Through this practice of omission and the fracturing of information, Jones is able to forge a more personal alliance with the materials. In this workshop, Jones will work with program participants to examine their own attachments to materials from their personal archives. No experience is necessary, however, please bring your own selection of paper source materials with you to the workshop.

Helping to facilitate the hands-on portion of this workshop will be a group of students from Urban Studio, a collective of artists based in the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fine Arts Department that creates and nourishes professional development through emphasizing participation and collaboration. The students’ knowledge of book binding and paper making will help explore new layers of Jones’s process. They will also lend their own unique perspectives on the art of the book and introduce alternative techniques for consideration.

RSVP to programs@studiomuseum.org to pre-register.

- See more at: http://www.studiomuseum.org/event-calendar/event/studio-squared-2015-03-29#sthash.6nsUonhE.dpuf


ARTE: Caitlin Cherry

FORE is the group exhibition up at the Studio Museum now, Caitlin Cherry a talented artist in her own right is the sister to one of our good friends and up & coming filmmaker Matthew Cherry.